By Victor Young
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has dismissed insinuations that he has been mobilising to replace Willie Obiano as Governor of Anambra State.
He said the insinuations trending in social media, credited to a faceless top All Progressive Congress, APC, member in Anambra State, claimed that he, Ngige, received the nod of the leadership of APC and was waiting for the blessing of President Muhammadu Buhari before declaring his ambition publicly.
In a statement through his media Emmanuel Nzomiwu, Dr. Ngige warned governorship aspirants in Anambra State to leave him alone and mind their businesses.
The Labour Minister described the report as unfounded, baseless and devoid of an iota of truth.
The two-time minister said he owed no apology to anybody for pitching tent with loyal and faithful members of APC in Anambra State from inception in 2012, who were once tagged “Boko Haram members” for supporting the great party.
The statement read in part: “The attention of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has been drawn to a news item stating that the minister wants to contest and have been mobilising to replace the incumbent Governor Obiano.
“Although this utterly mischievous and deceitful report was not credited to anybody in particular, the minister wants to make it clear that he has not at any time told anybody that he wants to contest for the Anambra governorship seat, neither has he overtly or covertly shown any interest.
“Senator Ngige wishes to make it known that he is very busy with his duties as the Minister of Labour and Employment and member of Federal Cabinet in charge of the various parastatals and other establishments under the ministry.
“The minister is occupied, involved and engrossed with his duties as a member of Economic Sustainability Committee constituted by President Buhari and headed by Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to develop a comprehensive and clear economic plan to tackle the challenges and fallouts of COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 era.
“He is also a member of the Federal Cabinet Committee for implementation of Economic Recovery. All these are besides other demanding engagements of office of the Minister of Labour and Employment.”
Besides the issues of Anambra governorship, on the issue of federal appointments given to Anambra State, the minister made it clear that he owes no apology to the unknown member of APC or any other person for dwelling with people who had suffered for the party.
Ngige said he had no regrets identifying those who laboured and campaigned for the party when people called APC, Boko Haram party, and not to talk of original members of the defunct legacy parties that merged to form APC, namely Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP, and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
According to the statement, “the report linking me to Anambra governorship is the imagination of the said unknown APC chieftain. Those who want to campaign for governorship should leave Dr Ngige alone.
“Appointments are usually based on qualifications, credibility unalloyed loyalty to the party and her leadership. Same goes for empowerment in various forms, which he had and is still doing as senator and minister.
“Just January 4, about 4,000 bags of 25kg rice, 2,000 cartons of tomatoes were distributed to APC faithful and stakeholders in all the 21 LGAs and three senatorial districts just before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since 2013, he has been offering scholarships to children of APC members and other Anambra indigenes in secondary and tertiary educational institutions and they are still running till date.
“Once chance avails him, he will immediately come down to distribute his COVID-19 palliative for party members, churches and all segments of Anambra people through his foundation.
“For the anonymous party source, it is obvious that he is one of the recent gate crashers’ coming to displace older members on patronage.
“The minister advises the unknown party source and others like him to wait a bit more for their turn, especially if they did not contribute to making the President win his last election by at least winning their ward.”